From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
The phone calls wouldn't be easy to make, but Usher woke up on his wedding day knowing what he had to do. As he broke the news to close friends that he was canceling his July 28 nuptials to stylist Tameka Foster, with whom he is expecting a baby this fall, "he was very emotional," says a source. "He didn't do it with his chest stuck out. It was very hard for him." The calls began at 9 a.m. and continued into the afternoon, with some guests not getting the news until they gathered at the Montauk Yacht Club before the 3 p.m. ceremony at the Sagaponack, N.Y., home of music mogul L.A. Reid. The estate was a bittersweet scene of abandoned tables and half-finished white hydrangea arrangements after the 100-plus crew, who had been working since the day before, was abruptly told to vacate the premises. "People," says one witness, "were just in shock."

Perhaps none more than the bride, 36, who according to a source was "furious" when Usher, 28, pulled the plug. So what caused his cold feet? Some insiders say it was because Foster balked at the prenup (which she eventually agreed to sign); others point to Usher's concern about recent revelations about her past, including a conviction for auto theft. But most sources single out Foster's friction with Usher's mother, Jonnetta, since she started dating him in November 2005. (Despite reports to the contrary, his mother was invited.) Says a source: "When reality set in ... he panicked." Whatever the issues, it was no secret that tensions did exist. Usher—who told PEOPLE in April that he and Foster were going through "spiritual counseling"—was "never comfortable," says a source. In the two weeks they planned the wedding, "there was never a moment when he was smiling." Says a relative: "A week before, Tameka told me there were some disagreements going on; wedding details were still up in the air. It was a stressful situation."

Indeed Foster told PEOPLE on July 30 that the stress sent her to the hospital over the weekend. "We had a scare [with the pregnancy]," she says. "I was pushing myself way too hard. But I am fine, and the baby is fine. I don't know why everyone is sending their condolences ... All of the reasons that everyone is speculating and writing about [the cancellation] are completely untrue."

Despite the turmoil around the wedding that wasn't, the couple reappeared together July 30 in New York City, where Usher filmed a cologne commercial, and flew home to Atlanta together the next day. "Usher wants to be there for the baby," says a source. Plans appear to already be under way for a wedding in Atlanta. Though, as another insider says, "I wouldn't be surprised if she persuaded him to elope."

  • Contributors:
  • Tiffany McGee/New York City,
  • Jeffrey Slonim/New York City,
  • Lesley Messer/New York City,
  • K.C. Baker/New York City,
  • Charlotte Triggs/New York City,
  • Isoul Harris/Atlanta,
  • Steve Helling/Orlando.